Primary source analysis

Posted: March 28th, 2022

a. In the first part of your analysis, you should briefly describe the historical event(s), which your primary source mentions, and situate the document in its proper historical context. Contextualization allows you to understand the political, economic, and social conditions in which their authors produce the primary sources.

b. In the second part of your analysis, you should demonstrate why this document still matters and why historians should take it into account while analyzing this historical period. Feel free to use the lecture materials, your textbook, and cite the primary source under scrutiny. AVOID LONG CITATIONS. We want to see YOUR evaluation and interpretation of the document.

c. You should conclude your paper with a brief discussion on the reliability of your source and mention the limitations of the document. All sources- yes, even the primary ones (!)- are written with various motives, which also shape the author’s understanding of historical events. The authors may try to justify their actions, or even worse, distort ‘the reality’ to realize their aims. Critical engagement with the primary sources requires you to distance yourself from the document and analyze it with a critical lens.

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